Patterned Fabric: From stash
Ribbon: From stash
Solid Fabric: Sheet from stash
Thread: From stash
Zipper: Salvaged from a garment I no longer wear
I didn't have enough fabric to sew a sample of my pattern, but I did have scraps of blue fabric that I wanted to make into something. I decided to try piecing them together in hopes of obtaining a usable length. The blue fabric is from a sheet that I used for another project and the patterned fabric is what I suspect is quilting fabric. I know people say you shouldn't use quilting fabric in garments, but I think that if you like the pattern and feel of the fabric, you should use whatever pleases you.
Unlike when I piece scraps to make samples, I was careful and methodical while piecing together these scraps. I painstakingly squared each piece and stitched straight seams. I made certain that grain lines matched, even when it meant a perfect piece of fabric could not be used where I wanted it. I ironed the pieces and in the end, I just barely had enough to cut out my pattern.
There wasn't enough room to cut on a fold. For some of my front and back pieces, I remembered to add seam allowance to the "cut on fold" edge, but not for every one. If you look closely, you'll see that my zipper isn't exactly at center back. That's because I didn't add seam allowance to one of my back pieces. I also forgot to flip my back pattern piece when cutting out the second fabric piece, but fortunately was able to salvage the fabric by cutting it into a front piece.
This was the first time I drafted slash pockets and figuring out how to sew them took several tries. The first time I sewed them, following the instructions in the book, they came out alright, but I felt I could do better. Actually, I thought that while I was sewing, but my computer was off and I didn't want to stop to look up directions. I figured I would be happy if they were good enough.
The next morning, I changed my mind. I looked up Tasia's instructions and after some confusion because her pockets are in one piece while mine have a lining and facing, I figured out how to put them in. I started by sewing the lining and facing together along the side with a French seam so that my pocket piece looked more like hers. The French seam wasn't a good idea because it is bulky when sewn into the side seam. I had to sew one side three times because of that pocket. Where Tasia says to use twill tape, I used a scrap of ribbon because that's what I had. I don't know if it will work the same way, but it makes me smile to know I have something pretty hidden in the seams.
Drafting these pockets was whim and guesswork. I made the opening bigger than my hand and randomly drew in a pocket shape. It looked roomy on paper, but in real life, it is nothing more than sufficient. Next time I will draft wider pockets and maybe bigger pocket openings.
My only problem with the zipper was that one of my seam allowances is actually a small hem from the sheet and I couldn't get the tension correct to get tight stitches when I put the zipper on that side. I don't know what to do when the tension is off. I've tried playing with the tension knob, but haven't had success in fixing loose stitches.
Now when I say I "follow" directions, I seldom mean I follow them exactly. For one thing, I never cut seam allowances if I can help it. I may snip a curved seam so that it will lie flatly, but I don't trim for French seams or otherwise to reduce bulk. Once you trim, there is no way to fix things if that seam needs to be altered. I don't notice a difference in the look or drape of a garment with this extra bulk; maybe I will when my sewing skills are more advanced, but for now leaving all seam allowances intact works for me.
I tried on the skirt before I sewed in the zipper and waistband and it seemed to fit. Once the zipper was in, I saw that there was way too much room in the front. Plus, I think the skirt would look better if it sat a little higher than I planned. I wasn't about to take out the waistband and zipper and cut the waistband shorter. That's too much work for something I'm not sure will turn out well. Instead, I added four one-inch darts in the front, including the waistband in the darts. It is still too loose, but fits a little better. On my body, the front waistband always sits lower than the back and I don't know how to fix it.
Because the waistbands do not sit on the same level and because I have a large backside, I hem my front at least one-inch higher than my back. This skirt was a little short for the mid-knee length I like, but that turned out to my advantage because the skirt is almost a circle skirt and benefits from a narrower hem. The back is hemmed ½-inch and the front ¾-inch. When I wear the skirt and look at the profile, it looks like the front hem is over an inch longer, but I don't want to shorten it more because of the way will look from the front.
If I sew this pattern again, I will draft larger pockets and cut them as one piece. I will draft a shorter front waist and waistband. I will cut a waistband facing and front, assuming I have enough material, which was the problem this time. Also, I made a shaped waistband, but I don't know if that was necessary. The waistband turned out to be too long, so the curves didn't fit in the exact places they were meant to fit. Fortunately, it wasn't a problem because I didn't have enough extra fabric to cut a new waistband.
I may even redraft the whole pattern and lessen the amount of "spread." I want a skirt with a little bit of movement, but I wasn't planning on making such a full skirt. I don't know how to tell how much "spread" will create how much fullness, so I started with a measurement and figured I would alter from there after I sewed a sample.
What I like about this skirt is that, surprisingly for its semi-circular shape, it looks good on my hips. The back, especially, fits very nicely. The fullness is in the front, but isn't so poochy that it looks like I'm using the front of my skirt as a bag. I like a skirt with pockets and these lie smoothly. Instead of having unusable scraps of fabric, I have a wearable garment. I love the colors and how the two fabrics go together. This skirt may not be exactly what I had in mind, but I'm happy I made it and plan to wear it regularly.